Anyone questioning the vastness of Drake’s success these past few years should have attended his current tour, Aubrey and the Three Migos, last night at the Smoothie King Center. For starters, the show was sold out…always a sign that the evening’s entertainment is in demand. Also evident to even the most unobservant eye was the fact that the show’s production budget clearly rivaled that of a Hollywood blockbuster. I remember seeing Drake at Jazz Fest in 2010 when it was just him, a mic and a DJ. The first three are still account for, now joined by a circus of flying Lamborghinis, a Tron-esque basketball half-time show where an audience member is given a chance to win $25,000 by making a free-throw from half-court, steam geysers, a thunderstorm of confetti, a hologram montage – you name it. Started from the bottom now they’re here, I suppose he would say.
Initially, I was a bit let down by openers Migos, as their most current singles were all absent from their opening set. Fortunately, the trio returned for an intermission half-way into Drake’s performance (which divided into “Side A” and “Side B”) to perform “Walk It Talk It,” “Narcos,” “Motorsport,” and “Stir Fry” from their most recent release Culture II.
His tourmates were not the only guests Drake invited to the party. The crowd was unsurprised, yet still erupted with applause when Big Freedia joined him to rap her contribution to “Nice for What.” Drake gave constant shout-outs to New Orleans, including an ode to his mentor Lil’ Wayne as well as a surprise performance from 5th Ward Weebie, who rapped some classic New Orleans bounce tracks including his sleeper hit “Let Me Find Out.” Weebie expressed his gratitude to Drake for representing our city, event thanking him for “putting bounce on the map.” I don’t know that I quite agree with this statement. While Drake is certainly the current bellwether of twerking soundtrack of choice, Cash Money Records consistently published platinum-selling, bounce-infused albums during the late ‘90s/early-‘aughts; more recently, Big Freedia has reigned as Fuse’s Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce for six seasons and counting. Still, everyone, myself included, loved the tip-of-the-hat to our hometown.
Drake seemingly drops guest appearance and mix-tapes every other week, so it was inventible that even some of his biggest songs – “Best I Ever Had,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” "0 to 100,” to name a few – would need to be omitted from his setlist. Still, I was pumped to hear “Jumpman,” samples from “Trophies” and “HYFR,” BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive," “I’m Upset,” and closer “God’s Plan.”